got me a college girl

in celebration of formal education in the life of the Christian girl

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

anti-college arrogance at its finest (Karen)

I recently came across this article by a homeschooled young man, Peter Friedrich, and I think it is a perfect example of the arrogance that is coming out of some circles regarding formal higher education. I would also note that his mother is Carmen Friedrich, whose blog has received many accolades, notably because of her anti-college-for-women writings.

After I had read it, I kept thinking about the fact that I learn something new every single day, something I didn’t know before. I read, I study, I interact with others and am always gaining a new perspective on subjects and ideas. I love it when this happens. How this guy can arrogantly state that he learned “nothing” from a slew of classes he took is incredible to me. If I had a child who behaved in that manner, I would certainly feel like I had failed to instruct him or instill in him the basic principle that God imparts wisdom to many people, not just yours truly! That and basic respect and manners.....


Oh bother…..

39 Comments:

  • At 7:17 AM, Blogger Mrs. Zoid said…

    I agree. College also teaches one how to communicate learning with others, how to analyze, how to compile points of view from all over the spectrum, etc. I don't think just reading stuff from a book (that probably has a chosen narrow-minded point of view) constitutes real learning.

     
  • At 7:28 AM, Blogger Mrs. Zoid said…

    Addendum: what too bothers me is Mr. Friedrich's statement "the problem is that college classes these days don't teach anything that the average student from a good homeschool high-school hasn't already learned." As I have noted on Mrs. Friedrich's blog in a comment, avoiding a college education cuts out the possibility of a science education. Very few homeschooling parents can teach their children differential equations or physical chemistry or statistical physics. It seems that discouraging a college education is evidence of a bias against the sciences. And goodness knows we need more Christians in the sciences.

     
  • At 7:32 AM, Blogger college girl said…

    How can you honestly claim to learn nothing in a class that covers 450 years of history? He obviously had never taken a class that focused on slavery, so he must have learned something new, or maybe he just didn't think slavery was worth learning about. :-(

    Even more disturbing, I did some poking around on his mom's site. *shudder* So many questions...Where does this idea come from that makes dad like god to his kids? Why does multi-generational faithfulness mean that the children have to believe and practice everything their parents did to the smallest point? How can you claim to have raised and taught your children well if they are so spiritually weak after 18 years of teaching as to still require extreme protection from the world? And where in the Bible are women shown as spirtually weaker than men? Where does the salt and light concept come in?

     
  • At 10:23 AM, Blogger Someone4321 said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 2:39 PM, Blogger Carmon Friedrich said…

    Dear Karen, et. al.,

    First let me make some corrections: the names are spelled "Pieter" and "Carmon."

    I have been blogging for almost five years, and my discussions of college have been a minute part of my writing, so to say that any accolades given to my site are "notably" due to my cautions about women going to college might be an overstatement.

    Pieter was very respectful of his instructor in the history class (which was the main focus of his article), and he many times tried to discuss the lecture topics more deeply, but the instructor was not interested in anything but parroting of what he taught. As Pieter noted, he was graded down for giving too much information in his papers, for not just restating what the teacher had said. There was a strong anti-Christian bias in what the teacher taught, and I am proud of Pieter for attempting to correct gross misstatements (again, quite respectfully) for the sake of the other students. If this is unmannerly, then perhaps there is a time for forsaking manners for the sake of truth.

    "College Girl": Pieter has learned quite a lot about slavery and about the Civil War. He would have gladly learned more from his class and his instructor, but there was nothing challenging about this course, nothing that couldn't be learned in a couple evenings with a good junior high level history text. If you think that 3 weeks on William Lloyd Garrison in a 6-week class which purports to cover 450 years of American history is balanced, then you can probably get a job writing textbooks in my state. And I'm sorry if I make you shudder, but I do wonder where you get the idea that my husband is like "god" to my children and that we extremely protect our 18-year-olds from the world. My 18-year-old is currently finishing up several months of training to be a volunteer fire fighter, he just spent a week away from home taking an intensive class to learn to fight wildland fires, and he will be getting his pilot's license this summer. The rest of your assertions are equally unfounded.

    "Someone 4321": you must be confusing Pieter with someone else as he has not been a college student for three years anywhere. I'm not sure how your remark about the Air Force "affirms" any suspicions, as there are many fine, intelligent members of all branches of the military.

    Really, ladies, if you wish to promote the superiority of a college education, then perhaps addressing specific issues and refraining from slinging ad hominem mud would better further your agenda. I would like to also suggest that it shows a lot more grace when you use your real names when you want to be critical; it's less tempting to be nasty when people know who you are.

     
  • At 3:06 PM, Blogger Pieter said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 6:51 PM, Blogger Dana said…

    But even granting the biased and generally horrific nature of this history class, how is Pieter justified in concluding that all college classes everywhere are equally worthless? It also seems, at best, highly subjective for him to say that college is worthless because *he* learned nothing.

     
  • At 7:53 PM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Hello Carmon and Pieter,

    I must apologize for the misspelling of Pieter's name...perhaps that has caused some confusion.

    I have only visited your weblog through the many references to your commentaries on college and women, hence my use of the word "notably."

    Carmon, I was commenting on your son's article and nothing else about him as that is all I have to go on. I believe that he could have been more gracious in his comments and also think that if his attitude toward his teachers was as his attitude in the article, he lost a great opportunity to win the ears of his opponents.

    I will give you ane example of what I am talking about. One of my sons, who was also homeschooled, worked as an attorney in a public aid office in California. He was only one of two conservatives in his office but he won the hearts of the liberals there by his gracious attitude and his gentleness with the clients, many of whom where needing assistance at the most difficult time of their lives. Had he maintained an attitude of superiority and contended that he could learn nothing from his co-workers, they would have never listened to anything he had to say.

    Here is another example. I am a member of a Toastmasters club. In our group there are people from all walks of life and who have a variety of worldviews. In the 5 years that I have listened to their speeches, I can honestly say that I have taken home something new from every single meeting. I have learned much about why liberals think the way they do, how they come to embrace views that are not like mine, and, most importantly, how to listen with my heart. In return, I have also won their ears and have been able to share Gospel truths with them because I have valued them and have been willing to learn from them.

    All this to say, we will have little opportunity to reform our culture or to teach our children how to do so if we know it all and express distain for others and especially for their choices that are not a clear violation of God's word, one example being a formal college education.

     
  • At 11:12 PM, Blogger Carmon Friedrich said…

    Dear Karen,

    I heartily agree that graciousness in speech and willingness to communicate with others is one way to win them over. That is something I strive for in my writing, and I believe I have been somewhat successful as I frequently hear from people who don't necessarily agree with me but who do appreciate the way I am willing to calmly discuss a variety of issues.

    You said, "If I had a child who behaved in that manner, I would certainly feel like I had failed to instruct him or instill in him the basic principle that God imparts wisdom to many people, not just yours truly! That and basic respect and manners....." This after referencing my website and "anti-college" writings. It did seem to imply that you questioned my mothering abilities, and was a rather harsh statement about my son's personality and my parenting skills based on one article, which he originally wrote for his blog to express frustration after doing his best to actually participate in and benefit from his class. He is able to appropriately respond to many people in a variety of circumstances.

    A blog post or an article is different than face-to-face interaction, and the intended audience dictates the tone and subject matter. I agree that Pieter used some hyperbole in his article, but I notice that this site is not immune from that either.

    The other commenters also made some rather extreme assumptions and used less than winning rhetoric to make their points.

    Karen, if you read my college posts, then I am afraid you missed the point if you think I expressed disdain for those who choose a formal college education. I obviously disagree with you about its general benefits, but I have always been careful of how I state my beliefs that other avenues of education may be just as valuable and sometimes superior.

    Believe it or not, our family has a wide variety of friends who don't agree with us on everything, and we manage to love one another and converse with civility. But there is a time and a place to express strong opinions strongly. We all need to pray for wisdom to know when that is.

     
  • At 5:27 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Hi Carmon,

    Again, my blog entry is based on the article that Pieter wrote. When I first read it I was amazed but thought perhaps I had misread what Pieter was saying. So I handed it to my husband, who is usually slow and thoughtful and his response was "wow, what arrogance!"
    We said that, even if we agreed with one of our children in a position they had taken, that we would certainly not stand behind the attitude we saw in that article. And then we both wondered if Patrick Henry College had seen this article and had responded.
    That article, by the way, is being circulated online by those who are opposed to a formal college education and, I believe, is used to brow-beat homeschoolers who chose to send their children to college.

    I believe the same is true of the articles on your weblog that encourage others to chose to not send their daughters to college. I have had your site suggested to me on more than a dozen blogs and every single one of them was using your articles about college to substantiate their own views and to warn other Christians about the evils of formal education for women. I am not saying this is bad; I believe this is the value of blogs, to provoke thinking about new ideas etc. But I am saying that your perspective of women and their roles and how they are related to a formal college education have given you notoriety. Even big name bloggers like the Bayly brothers have touted your site and those views. But, Carmon, I can't recall seeing you back away from those endorsements or say that you think others might have as valid a view as you or your family. That is exactly why the anti-college crowd sends people to your articles!

    If I were to sit down with you face to face, I believe we would have much in common and would most likely agree with more things than we would disagree with. And I think we would probably have a great time of fellowship!

    Karen

     
  • At 6:17 AM, Blogger greenemama said…

    I would like to also suggest that it shows a lot more grace when you use your real names when you want to be critical; it's less tempting to be nasty when people know who you are.

    monica accidentally posted as "college girl" without anonymous intent. most of us have done it before due to the quirky set-up i've got here. please forgive the mix-up as it's my fault and not hers. we have a general policy that discourages anonymous posting for the sake of loose tongued liberty.

    i must ask why pieter has deleted his comments. i think, if anything, they gave a bit more credibility to his arguments and am confused as to why he deleted them.

     
  • At 6:43 AM, Blogger Monica said…

    Let me add my own acknowledgement to greenemama's. (Thanks, greenemama!) The "college girl" comments are my own. I had just finished posting on the got me a college girl site, so I was still logged in as "college girl," a setting my computer picked up automatically. I had no intention of posting anonymously, and it appears that my second comment claiming my comments as my own did not in fact post up.

    Having claimed the comments, I must also add an apology for the bluntness. I would never have "shuddered" in front of your face, and so I should not have done so behind your back. For that I am sorry. It was neither gracious nor necessary.

    Nonetheless, I would like to provide a background to the rest of the questions in that second paragraph. I am intimately familiar with people who took many of the very arguments that your posts and the articles that you link to and used them to support a "dad as god" syndrome. They also took multi-generaltional faithfulness to mean that their kids had to conform to every iota of the parents' practice, as if it was not possible for God to send them in a slightly different direction. You linked to an article (I'm kicking myself now that I can't find it again) that stated that women are spiritually and physically weaker than men. But (and please hear this in a pleading tone) what happened to "neither bond nor free, male nor female" before the Lord?

    I don't reiterate these to attack you, but only to give some background and to express honest confusion.

    Monica

     
  • At 10:20 AM, Blogger Pieter said…

    I deleted my comment (singular) because I realized after my mother's comment appeared that she'd already made the point I was making.

    That point was to note that "someone4321" doesn't have the slightest idea what they're talking about. In brief, I've attended college for three semesters, not three years. I've never called myself "Czar," though in the articles I had published in the school paper I did call myself (surprise!) "Pieter J. Friedrich." I have not "transferred out because of poor/failing grades" as I am currently attending the same college I've attended for the past three semesters, and I was indeed only one of two students to pass the history class referenced in my college article. I'm not sure how I'd play computer games in class as I don't take my computer TO class, a fact "someone" might realize if they'd actually seen me there.

    "So I handed it to my husband, who is usually slow and thoughtful and his response was 'wow, what arrogance!'"

    And I showed the article to my mother, who is usually very thoughtful but very careful to point out when I need to tone something down, and her response was "that's a really good article." I also showed it to a good (female) friend who's a junior in college and has no problem with women attending college, and her response was "that's really good - I agree with it." I also showed it to several thousand people on LewRockwell.com, and of the emails I got about it probably 80% were from people (men and women both) who'd gone to college and yet told me I was spot on and that *they* hadn't learned a thing at college, either. At least, certainly not a thing they couldn't have learned cheaper and more efficiently on their own.

    As for the rest of this post and the related comments, I'd bother arguing except for the fact that your idea of sparking discussion consists of dragging out a month-old article and calling me arrogant for writing it. Well, maybe I am and maybe I'm not, but my potential arrogance in the article hardly negates the points I make. Perhaps it's arrogant to say I "didn't learn a thing," but that doesn't mean it's not true, in which case the proper thing to do would be address the problem of why I didn't learn a thing instead of harping on my attitude in saying it.

    Anyways, as this article is a month old and as I've already received and responded to upwards of 80 emails regarding it, I'm a tad tired of defending it. I've posted about college other times on my weblog (my experience taking a CLEP; my response to Patrick Henry College, which did contact me about my article - incidentally, one reason I dislike PHC is because it's TOO conservative; more about my history class) and I'll probably post about it again in future. Feel free to read my blog if you'd like to hear more about college from my perspective. Feel free not to read it if you insist on presenting "he's arrogant" as the ultimate defense against what I say.

     
  • At 12:02 PM, Blogger c.m.p. said…

    Well what did you expect? His homeschooling probably lead to his mother enforcing her own nutcase beliefs into him on a daily routine.

     
  • At 2:42 PM, Blogger Carmon Friedrich said…

    Thank you for the apology and clarification, Monica.

    I had hoped to spend some time this evening responding to Karen's response, but perhaps it would be best for her and for "CadenceMichelle" to have the last word (btw, it's "led" not "lead," and I believe you meant to say "forcing" my nutcase beliefs into him, though it might sound better to say I imposed them upon him). Because I have a very high view of both the intellectual and spiritual capabilities of Christian women, I'm confident that anyone reading here or at my site is capable of drawing their own conclusions, even if some should inappropriately use what has been written to browbeat them.

    May we strive to pursue God's truth, having less of us and more of Him, as we serve our Lord in whatever we do.

    In His Service,
    Carmon

     
  • At 3:17 PM, Blogger Brandy said…

    I don't typically jump into the fray like this, but here goes...

    I have a bachelor's degree and 2/3 of a master's degree (decided to spend my time with a newborn instead of finishing), and I do not find it arrogant to say that college doesn't teach a person much. Fact is, college didn't teach me much, though I did have a couple classes taught by brilliant professors that introduced me to some great book lists. :)

    When I was in public high school, my teachers used to try and scare us about how "hard" college was going to be, so imagine my surprise when I found the college freshman textbooks to be written at a lower reading level than what I had experienced in high school. And then I will never forget getting my booklist for my first master's class and discovering that some of its contents had been assigned to me previously on the booklist for my first class of my freshman year of college!

    Let's face it...the more we have pushed college as being "for everyone" the more dumbed-down it has gotten over the years. I am sure that there was a time when college was very challenging and stretching. But these days it is a means to an end: a job.

     
  • At 4:01 PM, Blogger ZoidAbsolute said…

    Pieter apparently has not taken a course in Discrete Mathematics, otherwise he would have known he was writing a logical fallacy. He is essentially using the argument of "I saw one black goose, therefore all geese are black" to "prove" that college is useless. He's had some bad classes and so has assumed that college is all bad classes. I would challenge him to take 2 or 3 years of real science courses and then try again. I would like to see him get through a course in Quantum Mechanics or even just Modern Physics and then we'll see if his tune changes a bit.

    Anyone who has gone very far in college knows that the introductory courses are just that, introductory. The purpose of an obviously introductory course like U.S. History for the past 450 years is to dump as much information and as many viewpoints into the student as possible. Now, it is true that some professors tend to make a class into their own soapbox, but even that provides differing opinions. Even when the opinions are wrong, it's still good to hear them so you know how to properly refute them. I had a professor in undergrad who was quite obsessed with the writings of Wendell Berry and we got into many arguments about it, which in the end made me develop some extremely strong arguments for why I am right and Wendell Berry is wrong. As I'm sure most of the readers and writers of this blog are aware, being right is useless unless you can convince people, especially ignorant ones (such as anti-college people), that your view is indeed correct and theirs is flawed.

    The comment that anything you can learn in college you can learn from a good home-schooled high school is absolutely absurd when you consider the sciences, as my highly intelligent, college-educated wife said in her post (who also happens to be a great cook and homemaker as well, so it CAN be done). You're going to cut out the hard sciences and they are going to become filled with even more Christian-haters than they already are.

    In short, if you take a college course that involves mostly dumping raw information into students and regurgitating it, as a large number of intro social science and humanities courses do, then you're not going to feel like you've learned anything beyond what you could have taught yourself. Everyone has to go through that initial stage before you get to where you can form your own opinions based on what you know. If your classes never get to that point, I'm sorry, but that means the college you're attending or the classes you're taking just suck, which some do. You just can't apply this as a universal principle to everyone's college education.

     
  • At 4:56 PM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Pieter,

    Perhaps it would be the most helpful if I post here an essay where I commented on your article for a group of homeschoolers. Maybe it will explain my reaction to your article.

    By the way, I was directed to your article just this past weekend so it wasn't "a month old" to me, though I don't know why that would matter.

    Also, let me explain how I, personally, as one of the college girls, decides what to post to promote discussion. If there is an article in the news or a blog entry or something I have read in a book, I will post something, sometimes with a comment and sometimes without, if I think it is germaine to our discussion here. I felt that your article was just that and I also think that it represents the attitude I have seen too often regarding this subject.

    Here is what I wrote:

    Recently I read an article written by a young man who had been homeschooled throughout his high school years. Obviously bright and articulate, he is currently serving in the US Air Force and seems to have a good head on his shoulders. As he writes about the homeschooling training he received, at first glance it seems that it was thorough and far excelled that of many of his peers. Sadly, though, the arrogance and pride in his life rose to the surface of his words, leaving me saddened at how many opportunities he was missing for being an example of homeschooling at its finest.

    In writing about his distain for formal higher education, he detailed several stories from the various courses he had taken at the college level. Then, in citing examples of how much more he knew than his professors did, he said, “I could mention my journalism class, which taught me nothing. Or my argumentation class, which taught me nothing, or even my American government class at the highly-regarded Patrick Henry College, which taught me (you guessed it!).” It left me saddened at the obvious lack of training in the practice of humility this young man had received, not to mention how much he was missing in his education by not being willing to add to his knowledge with a spirit of respect.

    One of the great lessons that Winston Churchill not only taught but also practiced was the art of magnanimity, of being a person who was willing to show deference and respect. He wisely knew that winning over people to your way of thinking, or as Christians, a Biblical viewpoint, requires a sweetness and gentleness in your life.

    His granddaughter, Celia Sandys, tells the story of one particular occasion when Churchill hosted a bitter rival for tea and cake. The harsh opponent later said he had been surprised by the gesture and called that brief encounter the “bread and salt of friendship,” which opened the door to further dialogue and eventually resolution of conflict. Churchill believed that by being magnanimous toward others, you will reap the rewards of making friends and allies of even enemies and opponents, remembering, too, that there are those who might lack the ability or good fortune with which you have been blessed.

    Have your children learned the art of being good listeners? Are they willing to learn from others while maintaining discernment? When you listen to them talk, do they convey contempt and pride or do they show respect and graciousness?

    "So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, "Is this not Joseph's son?" Luke 4:22
    (Pieter, please note that this is talking about Jesus. His words were gracious. May the same be said of you!

     
  • At 4:59 PM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Cadencemichelle,

    Sorry, but you are making nasty anti-homeschooling comments in the wrong crowd. I am in my 21st year of homeschooling my children and my daughter, Mollie, the number one college girl on the list was homeschooled and is homeschooling her boys. Oops, I guess my nutcase beliefs rubbed off on her!

    Seriously, please read my comment to Pieter today. In my opinion, his article is damaging to the reputations of homeschoolers, most of whom are polite and humble and teachable!

     
  • At 5:04 PM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Mr. and Mrs. Zoid,

    i am uncertain about how you feel about homeschooling but let me share with you the fact that there are many, many homeschoolers who take advanced science classes either through co-ops with teachers/mothers who know their stuff or with their own parents as they follow labs via satellite education programs. One of my friends is a homeschooling mom/RN and her husband is an award winning science teacher in the public school system. Their daughter is heading to college this fall and will be a pre-med biology major and is well prepared for the task. The dad often barters his skills and will teach a chemistry or physics class in exchange for something he needs, like firewood or carpentry work in their home. Believe me, it can be done and is!

    And I totally agree with your views that we need Christians to be involved in the sciences. My son attended the Summit Worldview Conference the past two summers and that was certainly an emphasis,even to the point where they have people who are willing to finance the educations of those students who are willing to get PHD's from noted universities so they can articulate a Biblical worldview from a unique platform. My support of college education is directly related to my desire of seeing dynamic Christian young people trained to reclaim and reform our culture for Christ.

     
  • At 5:05 PM, Blogger kristen said…

    Brandy,

    That's disappointing to hear. I couldn't say the same for my college experience: I didn't take one class where the reading list wasn't AT LEAST 50% new material, usually much higher. I did attend a very rigorous university (top 5 public school.) The breadth and depth of each of my classes was not something I could have duplicated in a homeschool environment, but I used AP credits to place out of things like introductory history courses.

     
  • At 5:10 PM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Brandy,

    Welcome to our blog.

    If you read in our archives, you will see that most of the college girls agree that college is not for everyone. Our contention is, however, that college is a good choice for many people and that it does not take away, in any manner at all, from a godly view of marriage and the family for women. In fact, we believe everyone benefits when women receive a formal college education.

    I understand your views on certain classes. But I really do believe that many people who claim to have gotten nothing at all from a class (that is what Pieter said about all those classes...nothing, not little or some but nothing) are probably not open to listening to others and learning from them in any situationn, not just a college classroom.

    Did I have college classes that seemed to be a waste of time? You bet. But I still learned something while I was in them, how to think critically, new vocabulary words, how people from a variety of backgrounds work out concepts in their heads, etc. I don't remember much about the Man and Society Class I took, but I do know that I learned the word "ramification", which I had never heard before! What are the ramifications of that, do you suppose? :)

     
  • At 5:41 PM, Blogger Mrs. Zoid said…

    Four comments:
    1. When my husband and I mention science classes, we are not talking basic general chemistry and the like. That falls under the general introductory courses Mr. Zoid mentioned wherein knowledge is basically dumped. We were describing higher-order classes such as Magnetic Resonance, Advanced Electrodynamics, and Solid State Physics. We are not saying that homeschooled students cannot get their high school science requirements through the methods you mentioned (and indeed, such arguments would be outside the realm of this blog), but rather that students cannot expect to receive genuine science and math education on a college level without actually attending college. To say that going to college is wrong or useless excludes one from any sort of serious studies in the sciences.

    2. I should also note that my husband was homeschooled, and I went through a large nondenominational private school system. We attended college together at a private liberal arts institution. He did just fine and is now on his way to becoming an excellent theoretical physicist. But that wouldn't have been possible without actually attending college.

    3. Since this has been brought up before in similar discussions in other blogs, I would also like to point out that one cannot truly study upper level science, particularly lab sciences, on a self-study or even directed distance-learning basis. Anyone who is a true academic views degrees from such work as baseless. There is no substitute for an experienced teacher and lab equipment in such a case.

    4. Where are all these useless classes being taught? I'm guessing they were mainly taken at community colleges and through distance-learning methods. Mr. Zoid and I were science majors at our insitution, but one of our favorite professors was in the English department, and the History department faculty were excellent lecturers as well. One of my favorite classes was Sociological Thought. None of it was rote or easy or boring. I did take a distance-learning C++ course from a community college and was bored to tears. So I'm wondering if perhaps all these "useless" classes would have been more interesting if taken at college of higher caliber (note: I don't include Patrick Henry as a higher-caliber school.)

     
  • At 6:35 PM, Blogger TulipGirl said…

    when I was in my college years, I had a similar low respect for a university education and the perception that it was simply "jumping through the hoops" as seems to be advocated by Pieter and Carmon.

    Throughout that time in my life, I focused on supplementing my college classes with non-institutional education. Honestly, I can say I learned more through the internship I had with a pro-life non-profit than I did sitting in many of my college classes. But there were things I learned in my college classes I wouldn't have through other means.

    I regret that I had such disdain for college when I was younger. I wish I had completed my undergrad studies before I married and had babies. And I'm saddened that the value of a college education is pooh-poohed among many homeschoolers.

    I have great respect for Carmon. I greatly value autodidacticism. Homeschooling is a blessing both for relationships and for academics for most families. However, I think the dismissal of the value of a college education is mistaken.

    My advice for Pieter, and the the reasonably intelligent youngsters who don't want to learn "nothing" in college? CLEP like mad--both subjects you know and subjects you aren't sure about. If you test well, CLEPs are easy. Integrate into your education self-directed studies and internships. Look for challenging courses and interesting professors. When classes aren't challenging enough in themselves--invest more into the classes, find the angle of challenge. Take art classes. Music classes. Language classes.

    And make sure your attitude is not one of simply jumping through the hoops for future job credibility. With both homeschooling and college, you get out of it what you put into it.

     
  • At 7:06 PM, Blogger Sallie said…

    As I've been reading all these comments the same thought kept coming to me that TulipGirl just offered - you get out of it what you put into it. It doesn't matter if it is education, marriage, friendship, your faith, or a hobby. You reap what you sow.

    College is completely what you make of it. I took every advantage I could while I was there, even stretching it to five years so I could do all the things I wanted to do - both academic and extracurricular. (This was before it was common for everybody to go five years!) I wanted to take two years of German because I felt an educated person should study a language. It was above and beyond my program requirements, but it was something I valued and I've never regretted the time or money spent on it. I was in the Honors College which gave me so many more options. I could opt out of "requirements" for other classes that were more helpful or personally interesting. I could do independent studies with a professor's oversight rather than take a "required" class. We received scheduling preferences above everybody in the entire university. It was a fantastic advantage that I had.

    And as I said in my introductory bio, I learned just as much - if not more - from my extracurricular activities and leadership opportunities than I learned in the classrooom. Those lessons have never left me but have made me a better wife, church member, community member, friend, etc.

    I suppose if someone goes to college with the intention of partying, sleeping around, escaping mom and dad, and scraping by in classes to get a degree to get a job... that's what they will get. If someone goes with the ideas that professors are all liberal idiots... then they will never look beyond that to take advantage of what is in front of them. If someone goes with the idea that they have four or five unique years in their life to learn and soak it all up, grow as a person, and meet so many interesting and diverse people... that's what they will get.

    Life is what you make of it and an open attitude and an eagerness to enjoy whatever you can out of each opportunity is the only way to live as far as I am concerned.

     
  • At 7:37 AM, Blogger Rachel said…

    I just want to second what Mr. and Mrs. Zoid have been saying about the sciences. I have my bachelors in math with a minor in physics. I don't think I can say it is absolutely impossible to learn math or science on your own, but I will say that it would take extraordinary gifts in order to do so. For example, Einstin taught himself most of his stuff, however, he did eventually have to take some classes in higher math in order to use it to support his physics. For all the other people out there who are interested in the hard sciences (like me), a formal university education is the only option.

    I would also like to say something in defense of community colleges. I obtained my associates from a CC and then transfered to a four year university. There were some classes and teachers that were below par, but I didn't necessarily notice a difference from the four year university (my sister attended for all four years so I could compare my classes to hers). And as far as the math classes went they were superb. I was prepared for the upper level stuff and even managed to stun a few of my professors when they learned that I had gone to the CC.

    I think it all goes back to the fact that you get out what you put into it. I was determined to get as much out of my community college classes as possible and I continued the same pattern at the university and got the same results.

     
  • At 9:10 AM, Blogger Rachel said…

    Oops, that's "Einstein." I wish this thing had an automatic spell checker.

     
  • At 9:58 AM, Blogger Ben, Kyri & Rachelle said…

    As someone who has worked in higher education for 6+ years, let me jump into the fray with a couple of comments. Brandy is absolutely right that (particularly in the last 20 years) college has been dumbed down. The rise of grade inflation (because administrators view college as simply a "business" and students are paying to look good for future employers) and the prominent liberal idea in education that everyone American should be able to obtain a college education (a huge fallacy as not everyone has the capability or interest in learning at that level) have contributed to this problem. However, the biggest problem is on the Admissions side where college administrators have two priorities: 1) making money (and thus are willing to admit a "full-pay" with very little or no academic promise just to offset those on financial aid) and filling the empty seats/dorm rooms left after colleges grew to accomodate the Baby Boomer generation and 2) the misguided attempts to diversify the student bodies and ascertain that there are represented students from the inner city, from foreign countries, from the suburbs, from the country, of all different sexual orientations (at secular colleges) and every different race at the expense of choosing the best-qualified academic candidate.

    Despite these converging problems, there are colleges who do better than others and there are ways that savvy students and parents can ask the right questions to seek the best educations for themselves/their children. I heartily recommend www.isi.org and their "Choosing the Right College" as a resource to those who might be in this process.

    Lastly, in response to TulipGirl's encouragement to CLEP everything, CLEP is not always accepted by the more academic colleges. CLEP is viewed by admissions officers and academics as EASY, and just like the GED it can leave a bad stain on a homeschooler's transcript. Far better is the AP test which can be taken by homeschoolers and is a more rigorous and reputable test. And if CLEP is accepted in lieu of general ed courses, you can be reasonably suspicious that the college in question doesn't have very rigorous general ed courses.

    My husband and I were both homeschooled and as we discussed last night, think it is more important for homeschoolers to have a college education than others so that they are exposed to different views and prepared to interact with the people who hold them when they enter the real world; and because of the tendency for bright homeschooled students to be big fish in a small pond and thus have an overinflated opinion of their own abilities. I have also noted in my work with homeschooled students that they have a huge say in what they study and read in high school and sometimes need to be exposed to things they wouldn't normally choose in order to have a well-rounded education. -rlr

     
  • At 11:56 AM, Blogger allyschild06 said…

    My name is Catherine and I am a senior history major at a private college in the northeast. I read "college girl" and Mrs. Friedrich's blog regularly and I am a fan of both. I know that lots of people have posted comments already, but I thought I would add my two cents and respond directly to Pieter's article (and apologize in advance for the ridiculous length of this post).

    First, I would suggest that college does not have to be "synonymous with sleeping around, partying, and doing what you want without Mom and Pop looking over your shoulder." Both my roommate and I became baptized believers in college (I am a Catholic; she is a non-denominational Protestant). Even at a secular school, we have met many, many more people who take their faith and morals seriously than we have met people who do nothing more than goof off or party all the time. I'm sure part of this has to do with the "nerdy" atmosphere of the particular university we attend, but I would venture to say that most colleges are not simply havens of debauchery and depravity. To dismiss "college" as a whole with that characterization is as incorrect as praising college uniformly, without reservations.

    I think there is a common misconception about history as an academic discipline. The point of studying history at the college level isn't simply to learn about facts, dates, events, etc. (that would be the provenance of journalism). Instead, studying history entails learning how to *make arguments* about facts, dates, and events - to argue how or why something happened (it's the difference between simply learning that Queen Elizabeth I's first parliaments met in 1559, 1563, and 1566, and *arguing,* relying on the extant sources, that her relationship with the parliamentarians was either largely cooperative (as some historians believe) or largely contentious (as other historians believe)).

    Yes, this approach to history does mean having an "agenda" to a certain extent. But there is nothing inherently wrong with promoting an agenda (even the truth is an agenda - it is simply the right one). Clearly, if Pieter taught a history class, he would have an agenda, too - to offer a broader and more factually correct understanding of the first few centuries of American history.

    The problem with having an agenda, therefore, lies not in promoting a viewpoint per se, but in bending the relevant sources to fit a preconceived notion of how the world works or ought to work. It is much better to start with the available sources and let them help you discover the truth. In addition, college professors have a duty to expose their students to the differing opinions out there.

    I wouldn't say that "African slavery was the single defining issue of American history," as Pieter's professor apparently did, but I would say that it was a *major* defining issue, one that certainly affected the outcome of the Constitutional Convention and led in large part to the outbreak of the Civil War. If you sit down and think about the number of areas that slavery affected - politics, religion, economics, just to name a few - it doesn't seem so absurd to spend quite a bit of time on it (although I do believe that the professor could have done a better job of explaining making these connections clearer - rather than simply describing slavery for two entire lectures, perhaps he could have tried to weave its impact into lectures about other areas of American history).

    It is unfortunate that Professor Raposa never explained why the Salem Witch Trials "deserved so much attention," but I don't believe he was wrong to spend an entire lecture discussing them. Again, here is a good opportunity to distinguish between journalism and history. Pieter notes that the Witch Trials only killed 19 people. True - those are the bare facts, the newspaper "headline," so to speak. But why did the trials occur in the first place? Most serious historians, while not labeling the Puritans "intolerant nuts," would argue that the Trials were an unfortunate outgrowth of religious rigidity and community hysteria. The Puritans may be heroes of the reformed Christian community, but that hardly means they were perfect, or that they acted rightly by staging these trials and executions. It is not an attack on reformed Christianity as a whole to condemn the Puritans for their decision to execute these 19 men and women. Furthermore, the Witch Trials are important not because of the number of people killed, but because of their connection to other events in United States history and (possibly) our future. It's easy to see the linkages between the Witch Trials and the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s, or to imagine what might happen in the future if we didn't have certain safeguards in place to protect minority rights.

    I fail to see how teaching (incorrectly) about George Whitfield or the First and Second Great Awakening constitutes "bashing" Christianity. These mistakes reflect poorly on the professor's knowledge, yes, but how do they indicate that he "despised" Christianity? There are many people who are uninformed about Christianity (it's unfortunate that these people include college professors), but that does not automatically mean they hate the religion (nor does criticizing certain aspects of its practice definitely indicate hatred, either).

    Some of my best history classes in college (and there have been many) have covered a significant time span in one semester (about 200 to 350 years plus). I would much rather have the professor choose certain key events and offer his or her analysis and insight, rather than simply giving a sweeping narrative of every event that happened during the time period. This makes for much more lively discussion and exploration, both in class and in informal conversations.

    It is all good and well to say that anyone can acquire a good history education from reading books. But the best modern scholarship (and even some of the best scholarship from a hundred or more years ago) is produced in a college setting, by college professors and graduate students. Stop sending people to college, and I guarantee that the number of quality books published will decline. Most people (minus the truly exceptional) need the financial and academic resources that a college provides in order to produce serious research. The great thing about a university is that it's an institution - it's larger than one family, one student, and one independent scholar. At its very best, it's a meeting of great minds, people learn from each other and work together creatively. You would be hard pressed to find that kind of synthesis anywhere else.

    I'm sure that Pieter grew up with every educational advantage. I know by reading his blog and Mrs. Friedrich's blog that they are both highly-intelligent and well-educated people. Not everyone can homeschool their children, though. My parents are both very smart people and I love them dearly. But they are immigrants (from Taiwan) and they came to America without knowing very much English. Had my mother attempted to homeschool me, I might never have learned to speak, read, or write English properly. So they made the choice to send me to public school, where I received a fairly comprehensive education. Instead of looking down on public school students, I would suggest that more advanced students (homeschooled or not) either 1) choose harder classes that are more commensurate with their level of knowledge or 2) learn something non-academic from their public school classmates (perhaps they didn't study hard in high school but are now trying to make something better of themselves, or they are extremely versed in other academic disciplines, such as math or science, and may need extra tutelage in history).

    To take four or more "useless" college classes probably means that 1) the college you are attending is not a very rigorous one or 2) you are doing a less-than-perfect job of choosing classes. There are very bad colleges out there, to be sure, but there are bad homeschool teachers and bad private schools. No system is perfect, and to dismiss it entirely, rather than suggest constructive changes, is also a "useless" argument, because it fixes nothing. It is a person's own responsibility to choose a college that is of high enough caliber for his or her abilities and to then deliberately seek out challenging classes within that environment.

    Pieter commented that the other posters harped on his arrogance, rather than on the validity of his arguments. I can't dispute his statement that he learned "nothing" in his four college classes, but I can argue against another statement of his, that "college classes these days don't teach anything that the average student from a good homeschool high-school hasn't already learned." As others have pointed out, there are so many college classes out there - and it is impossible for any homeschool graduate, no matter how well-versed, to know everything about every branch of history, science, math, engineering, etc. - "college" as a whole is a very wide world, much wider than any one person's own experience or knowledge.

    I will be teaching public school in a disadvantaged neighborhood in Los Angeles next year. I hope the majority of my students will eventually attend college. I believe very firmly that college
    will give them a chance to make something of themselves, to learn from people who are very different from them, and to discover the joys and benefits of serious scholarship. To close off college as an option means (realistically) that many will never find good jobs or have the chance to learn much academically after high school ends (there won't be any time, in between working two or three minimum wage jobs). I hope that none of them, however, will simply use college as a means to an end. I do not believe that it is right for someone to attend college if he or she believes that it is a "useless" experience, or that the university system as a whole is not living up to its promise of providing a solid education. To me, that seems like a compromise of one's dignity and personal beliefs. If college is educationally "useless," don't go, period. Otherwise, everyone might be better served by articles and arguments that seek to fix a system, not to dismiss it (almost) entirely.

     
  • At 12:40 PM, Blogger Allison said…

    Brava, allyschild06! That is a wonderful comment and I couldn't have said it better myself-- in fact, much of what you said was just what I've been thinking all along. A very balanced perspective.

    Though I've been following this thread, I've had little time to respond, but I just had to chime in on this. I especially agree with her statement that "No system is perfect, and to dismiss it entirely, rather than suggest constructive changes, is also a 'useless' argument, because it fixes nothing."

    I grew up attending public school and I attended a small, private liberal arts college in the south. Now, I teach at a public school, but I plan to homeschool my children (when we are blessed with them). And I hope that students from any background would at least consider college and choose wisely.

    I also agreed with this statement from allyschild: "I would venture to say that most colleges are not simply havens of debauchery and depravity. To dismiss "college" as a whole with that characterization is as incorrect as praising college uniformly, without reservations." Well said.

     
  • At 3:03 PM, Blogger Kathryn said…

    College is as much about learning discipline and hard work as it is about learning subject matter. I went to community college, and if I had not have learned anything from a class, then it would have been my fault. Having a teachable spirit is helpful.

    My husband is currently in college and is taking all kinds of classes. Just because he disagrees with the content of the class or the teacher doesn't mean that he can't learn. If anything, it makes him aware of what others are thinking, and helps him to relate better to them. In no way is it money misspent. In the real world, we have to work closely with people we disagree with, sometimes in the most fundamental ways.

    And I hate to say it, but that article did come off as arrogant.

     
  • At 9:00 PM, Blogger TulipGirl said…

    ben & mom,

    Thanks for the feedback about CLEP vs AP testing. . . It's good to know that CLEPs are viewed as less desirable by some institutions.

    I would still encourage relatively bright students going to a community college before a 4-year institution, to CLEP or AP or challenge some of the basic courses to get into the "fun" stuff.

    Some of the general requirements--Freshman Comp, College Algebra, US History Survey--are likely redundant for students who have had a good education to that point.

    (And, honestly, if all my classes had been like Freshman Comp I, I would have probably written Pieter's essay myself!)

    Yet, like Rachel, I want to pipe up in support of community colleges. Sure, some teachers and classes there may be subpar, but many of the instructors are dedicated, well-versed in their subject, and capable teachers. In our support for quality education, I think it is important not to dismiss the good that can be found at the local level.

     
  • At 9:53 PM, Blogger Mike Spreng said…

    The article is a little obnoxious but it is not all together “arrogant.” I think what he is trying to say is that his mind was not forming like he wanted it to. That is what college is supposed to be about! College should form the mind and give the student a grid, a hermeneutic, a general philosophy, to study whole life. It sounds like he wasn’t getting that. His mind was becoming a convoluted mess of “information.” That’s not learning; not proper learning, anyhow. Again, proper learning gives a person a worldview, an outlook, a pair of spectacles. Liberal study cannot and will not do this. And as far as the argument of “learning about what others are believing,” well…that is a very immature way to learn also. Haven’t you ever heard of the way the FBI trains when learning the crime of counterfeiting? They study the real bill so much that when a counterfeit runs past them, they spot it immediately. If they were to study the counterfeit bills instead, they would have an endless schooling that would teach them a lot of nothing. And that is what much of academia is doing: teaching a lot of nothing. It’s Marketing 101! Those publishers and teachers get paid ya know.

     
  • At 6:16 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Mike,

    Perhaps herein lies the problem....what is the purpose of a college education?

    I would offer that going to college and attending college classes don't necessarily have the same purpose.

    The experience of college teaches you all sorts of things we have addressed on this blog, ie, leadership skills, interpersonal relationship skills, independence, self-motivation, critical thinking skills, etc.

    The classes, however, ought to be part of a whole learning process, preparing you to be accomplished enough to have a job, whether it be in a work environment or raising a family or in ministry. Class time will expose you to the ideas and worldviews of any number of people and it will also allow you the opportunity to evaluate the things you have learned up until that point. And it will give you a body of information you can and hopefully will use.

    Pieter says that he was only attending college to get a degree. He didn't claim to go into it with the goal of having his mind shaped. In fact, it sounds like he really didn't go into it with the goal of learning anything at all, only to get a piece of paper for future employment.

    I had another thought as I read through your comments and, looking at your profile, I think you might be Peiter's pastor. What do you think about Christian education vs secular education for Christians and how does that determine how you approach your classroom time? Are the minds of Christians supposed to be shaped by those with a secular worldview?

    Maybe this would be a better thread all by itself.

     
  • At 8:45 AM, Blogger Pieter said…

    "I had another thought as I read through your comments and, looking at your profile, I think you might be Peiter's pastor."

    Nope. I live in California, Mike's from Arizona. I also attend a church with a board of teaching elders...we have no official pastor

     
  • At 1:03 PM, Blogger Bag Fanatic said…

    Even AP scores and credits from community college are not accepted at colleges (in particular private universities). Not to be snobbish, but I don't think Patrick Henry College is that 'well regarded' and perhaps it is the reason Pieter was not challenged. As to grade inflation, that is NOT common across the board. My school (wake forest university) does not grade inflate at all. Our overall GPAs are lower than the norm. This does not hurt job prospects as most employers know that grade inflation does not happen.

     
  • At 9:27 PM, Blogger Headmistress, zookeeper said…

    I only wish to comment on the CLEP advice-- our homeschooled daughters passed several CLEP tests, including math, English, and history tests. This was largely a waste of their time, as the community college, the state university (Purdue) and a small liberal arts Catholic college with an excellent reputation all refused to accept most of them.

     
  • At 5:07 PM, Blogger TulipGirl said…

    Really interesting to hear so many places turning down CLEPs and such. . . I guess things have changed a lot since I was in university. I hadn't heard of that at all. And my experience? Well, I didn't attend an exclusive school. *wink*

     
  • At 4:21 PM, Blogger Capitalist said…

    Carmon
    Your son is looking forward to being a pilot and a fireman but what about your daughters? Is a keeper of the house and wife and mother the only choice that they have? Based on what I have read in yours and Crystal's blog, intellectually the sky is the limit for the sons but not for the daughters. They have sacrafices to make not choices. I see it as cruel. There were some places in the NT where Paul did say it was OK not to get married. Why do you seem to feel that the only way to exercise faith in the Lord is through family and children? The Pharasee's fell into the same trap. They worshipped the Sabbath and their laws. Jesus rebuked them for that. What I see with the social conservatives is the similar conflict between relationship with Jesus and your womanhood/wifehood/motherhood. What comes first faith or works?

     

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